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Movie stars establish themselves as brands--and Taylor's brand , in its most memorable outings, has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination,: Forbidden as a girl to ride her beloved horse in an important race, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, Movie stars establish themselves as brands--and Taylor's brand , in its most memorable outings, has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination,: Forbidden as a girl to ride her beloved horse in an important race, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, "A Place in the Sun" (1951), can be seen as an abortion rights movie--a cautionary tale from a time before women had ready access to birth control. In "Butterfield 8" (1960), for which she won an Oscar, Taylor isn't censured because she's a prostitute, but because she chooses the men: she controls her sexuality, a core tenet of the third-wave feminism that emerged in the 1990s. Even "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's stalled career and children. The legendary actress has lived her life defiantly in public--undermining post-war reactionary sex roles, helping directors thwart the Hollywood Production Code, which censored film content between 1934 and 1967. Defying death threats she spearheaded fundraising for AIDS research in the first years of the epidemic, and has championed the rights of people to love whom they love, regardless of gender. Yet her powerful feminist impact has been hidden in plain sight. Drawing on unpublished letters and scripts as well as interviews with Kate Burton, Gore Vidal, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Smith, and others, The Accidental Feminist will surprise Taylor and film fans with its originality and will add a startling dimension to the star's enduring mystique.


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Movie stars establish themselves as brands--and Taylor's brand , in its most memorable outings, has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination,: Forbidden as a girl to ride her beloved horse in an important race, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, Movie stars establish themselves as brands--and Taylor's brand , in its most memorable outings, has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination,: Forbidden as a girl to ride her beloved horse in an important race, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, "A Place in the Sun" (1951), can be seen as an abortion rights movie--a cautionary tale from a time before women had ready access to birth control. In "Butterfield 8" (1960), for which she won an Oscar, Taylor isn't censured because she's a prostitute, but because she chooses the men: she controls her sexuality, a core tenet of the third-wave feminism that emerged in the 1990s. Even "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's stalled career and children. The legendary actress has lived her life defiantly in public--undermining post-war reactionary sex roles, helping directors thwart the Hollywood Production Code, which censored film content between 1934 and 1967. Defying death threats she spearheaded fundraising for AIDS research in the first years of the epidemic, and has championed the rights of people to love whom they love, regardless of gender. Yet her powerful feminist impact has been hidden in plain sight. Drawing on unpublished letters and scripts as well as interviews with Kate Burton, Gore Vidal, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Smith, and others, The Accidental Feminist will surprise Taylor and film fans with its originality and will add a startling dimension to the star's enduring mystique.

30 review for The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Donna Jo Atwood

    This book says more about the author's perception of feminism in Taylor's movies then in Taylor's views. This reads like a college paper that is not particularly well thought out or well documented, since some of her conclusions aren't especially well supported. This book says more about the author's perception of feminism in Taylor's movies then in Taylor's views. This reads like a college paper that is not particularly well thought out or well documented, since some of her conclusions aren't especially well supported.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    If you are just learning about feminism and need to see it applied to a famous person or to films, this may be for you. It often reads like a paper I would have written at the end of my undergrad years, making bold interpretations with little to back them up, or validating statements about Taylor with lengthy explanations of what second wave (and some third wave) feminism is about. The author says what has already been said elsewhere about Taylor's famous roles in "Giant", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof If you are just learning about feminism and need to see it applied to a famous person or to films, this may be for you. It often reads like a paper I would have written at the end of my undergrad years, making bold interpretations with little to back them up, or validating statements about Taylor with lengthy explanations of what second wave (and some third wave) feminism is about. The author says what has already been said elsewhere about Taylor's famous roles in "Giant", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Virginia Woolf". Much more interesting were the analyses of Taylor's attempts to overcome the material in "BUtterfield 8", the chauvinist writing about Cleopatra the historical figure, and the enfeebled but still damaging Production Code while making "The Sandpiper". The author is also quite generous in analyzing "Ash Wednesday", and gives a detailed account of Taylor's triumphant stage performance in "The Little Foxes". The book ends with Taylor's AIDS activism, which has been told and re-told, but is a nice story to hear anytime. The book was not a waste of time, as it was a very quick, easy read. It contains a few interesting ideas, such as Taylor's illnesses being a form of rest in which she did not have to bother with being a superstar. However, you also have to stomach phrases like, "Just as ancient Egyptians needed their rulers to be divine, [...] mid-century fans required their stars to be moody, unreliable, and petulant." Or this doozy, which was written about her luminous turn in "A Place in the Sun", and then about what was missing in "Cleopatra": "He needed her to do something only she could do, override the audience's pre-frontal cortex [...] He needed her to electrify viewers with primitive feeling."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I have always been a big fan of Elizabeth Taylor. I love her movies, her jewelry, her life, and her passion. When I was in high school I wrote a paper on her life and loves. I own several biographies of hers. So when I was recently checking the bookdrop, I stumbled upon a new biography of Ms. Taylor by M.G. Lord. The title, The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice, intrigued me so I checked it out and moved it up t I have always been a big fan of Elizabeth Taylor. I love her movies, her jewelry, her life, and her passion. When I was in high school I wrote a paper on her life and loves. I own several biographies of hers. So when I was recently checking the bookdrop, I stumbled upon a new biography of Ms. Taylor by M.G. Lord. The title, The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice, intrigued me so I checked it out and moved it up to the top of my TBR pile. After reading the Accidental Feminist, I realized that basically Lord had written, what felt like in my opinion, a thesis on the movie portrayals of Elizabeth Taylor and how those characters possessed feminist characteristics. She would sprinkle in tidbits of Taylor’s infamous life, but mostly the book was a critique of her movie roles. The book caters to those who are already familiar with Taylor’s life. I wish Lord would have included more of Taylor’s later philanthropic works with AIDS foundations. She does include some information about this period in Taylor’s life but the book drops off for the most part after Taylor’s movie roles slow down. I would recommend this book to other fans of Taylor’s who aren’t looking for a new biography, but more of a feminist critique of her work during specific time periods.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Bird

    I quite liked this! It’s a brief read that discusses a interesting feminist perceptions of Elizabeth Taylor and her work. I think the author does a good job of indicating that this is largely hypothesis based on a modern day understanding and consciousness, and thus is intended to be read as interpretation; this is not a biography.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jola Cora

    What a wonderful read! Full of historical context.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marya Gates

    This book is NOT good. I'm 55 pages in and it's surface level readings of Taylor's films and her life, as well as downright dismissive misreadings of a handful of other films from the 1950s. I will finish the damn thing, but it's making me angry realizing how badly it's probably misinformed a lot of people. Elizabeth Taylor and 1950s cinema deserve better! This book is NOT good. I'm 55 pages in and it's surface level readings of Taylor's films and her life, as well as downright dismissive misreadings of a handful of other films from the 1950s. I will finish the damn thing, but it's making me angry realizing how badly it's probably misinformed a lot of people. Elizabeth Taylor and 1950s cinema deserve better!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    The book was interesting but I think it said more about what the author wanted Elizabeth Taylor to be than who she was. Yes, she fought for aids and did a few roles that were empowering to women. She also dimmed herself to make her husband feel bigger. She obviously took roles in order to give her husband a career. She could have done so much more if her whatshisname cradle robbing husband hadn’t held her back. She spoke up when she was older and no longer the Elizabeth Taylor of back in the day The book was interesting but I think it said more about what the author wanted Elizabeth Taylor to be than who she was. Yes, she fought for aids and did a few roles that were empowering to women. She also dimmed herself to make her husband feel bigger. She obviously took roles in order to give her husband a career. She could have done so much more if her whatshisname cradle robbing husband hadn’t held her back. She spoke up when she was older and no longer the Elizabeth Taylor of back in the day.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Bemis Abrams

    This is one of my top 5 most favorite books on my shelf. I recommend it as though I was related to the author and buy copies for friends and acquaintances because I am convinced it will open their eyes. Lord does a tremendous job, as a fan, scholar and accomplished writer, of tracking a series of Elizabeth Taylor's high profile decisions. On paper (or the screen) they seem unconnected. Viewed on a continuum and through the words of a woman, a reader instantly has a better understanding of Taylor. This is one of my top 5 most favorite books on my shelf. I recommend it as though I was related to the author and buy copies for friends and acquaintances because I am convinced it will open their eyes. Lord does a tremendous job, as a fan, scholar and accomplished writer, of tracking a series of Elizabeth Taylor's high profile decisions. On paper (or the screen) they seem unconnected. Viewed on a continuum and through the words of a woman, a reader instantly has a better understanding of Taylor. Highly, highly recommend!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    The author imposes her ideas on Taylor's life which could be both good and bad. And, she clearly is against the religious establishment particularly the Catholic church. I don't agree that feminism has to dismantle the church, but this does bring up the poor handling of women's rights movements by the church. I appreciate the book for its brief introduction to some of the history of feminist theory with a bit of Elizabeth Taylor biography thrown in. The author imposes her ideas on Taylor's life which could be both good and bad. And, she clearly is against the religious establishment particularly the Catholic church. I don't agree that feminism has to dismantle the church, but this does bring up the poor handling of women's rights movements by the church. I appreciate the book for its brief introduction to some of the history of feminist theory with a bit of Elizabeth Taylor biography thrown in.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin Bowles

    loved the structure and format and wish similar books were written for my personal favorite stars (garbo, shearer, hayw0rth, and stanwyck come to mind immediately, then i realized i wrote the essay version already for hayworth...one day maybe that will turn into a longer project and my mother will finally be proud of me) tldr of course the "feminism" that lord voraciously clings to is white feminism loved the structure and format and wish similar books were written for my personal favorite stars (garbo, shearer, hayw0rth, and stanwyck come to mind immediately, then i realized i wrote the essay version already for hayworth...one day maybe that will turn into a longer project and my mother will finally be proud of me) tldr of course the "feminism" that lord voraciously clings to is white feminism

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mcvalens

    Picked this one off the staff recommendations at the library. I have always been fascinated by Elizabeth Taylor as a star. I may have to search out some of her films to get a glimpse into her acting ability.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I have to admit that I avoided reading this book when it first came out because of its particularly dopey title, but having finished it, I can say that this is a neat little book that should appeal to a lot of different audiences. Whether you like celebrity biographies, film studies, or feminist theory, there is something in this book for you. Lord's quick, accessible prose leads the reader through Taylor's life and ouvre, stopping at various points along the way to point out the way that Taylor I have to admit that I avoided reading this book when it first came out because of its particularly dopey title, but having finished it, I can say that this is a neat little book that should appeal to a lot of different audiences. Whether you like celebrity biographies, film studies, or feminist theory, there is something in this book for you. Lord's quick, accessible prose leads the reader through Taylor's life and ouvre, stopping at various points along the way to point out the way that Taylor's decisions both on screen and in life questioned the prevailing norms of gender and sexuality at the time. Of the three types of readers I described above, I am the last: more of a feminist wonk than a film enthusiast. I didn't know much about Elizabeth Taylor before I started the book, so I can't say if there is a lot that is new here for superfans. Even for feminists, the fruit of the book is sometimes more meagre than hoped. Lord offers brief explanations of popular feminist notions in a few chapters, but oftentimes goes long stretches without coming back to her title. In fact, the title itself is never fully explicated. The book ends why a suggestion that the many feminist messages in Taylor's life and work were part of a conscious effort, although Taylor herself would likely have shunned the label. Perhaps a better title would be "The Reluctant Feminist." In place of the desired feminist teachings, Lord often provides fairly facile cognitive explanations of the way that Taylor "activates viewers' reptile brains." I know cognitive science and neurological explanations are trendy lately, but these explanations felt out of place in this book, especially since they weren't very nuanced or connected to the overall theme of the book. Perhaps my biggest critique of the book is that I wanted more of it. As other readers have pointed out, some of the reasoning and conclusions are made fairly hastily, and I think Lord could have made her arguments more explicit. There seems to have been a production decision to make the book move quickly, rather than to flesh out all of the ideas. This is disappointing because I gladly would have followed Lord for another 100 pages. The book ends abruptly, and a conclusion or epilogue would have really helped tie it all together. Aside from these few criticisms, this is a fun, interesting book that teaches not only about Elizabeth Taylor and feminism, but about the world in which she lived. The book creates a vivid image of the evolving norms and ways of life the informed many of Taylor's movies. I found Lord's brief survey of the infamous Production Code Administration, which censored American films from the mid 1930s until its dissolution in 1968, particularly edifying. This biography refuses to portray Taylor or any of the other people it describes as anything other than human. Lord has a keen sense for the motives and ideals that inform life's choices, and she makes a powerful argument that Taylor serves as a remarkable feminist role model regardless of how she or anyone else would have responded to that label. There is another argument that can be made here. Lord clearly shows that Taylor's movies speak to the issues faced by modern women and that she lived a life similar to that of many modern women. Taylor wasn't a feminist because she could do what she wanted before Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan started the battle in earnest for other women to gain this freedom. Taylor was so rich that she had choices that other women wouldn't for another 20 or 30 years. Lord doesn't often mention issues of class, but they underlie much of the book. In a word where intersectional feminism is becoming increasingly paramount, we shouldn't look at anyone through the lenses of feminism without considering this.

  13. 5 out of 5

    han⚢

    3.5 stars Liz Taylor. Everybody’s heard of her. Elizabeth Taylor was the most well-known actress of the golden era of Hollywood, a mother, and an advocate for people suffering from AIDS during the 80’s; but was she a feminist? This biography gives a thorough analysis on most of her filmic roles with special consideration to her role in National Velvet (1944), Giant (1956), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and from them concludes how they portrayed the ideal that Taylor was indeed, 3.5 stars Liz Taylor. Everybody’s heard of her. Elizabeth Taylor was the most well-known actress of the golden era of Hollywood, a mother, and an advocate for people suffering from AIDS during the 80’s; but was she a feminist? This biography gives a thorough analysis on most of her filmic roles with special consideration to her role in National Velvet (1944), Giant (1956), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and from them concludes how they portrayed the ideal that Taylor was indeed, an ‘accidental’ feminist. This biography also tackles how her roles appealed to the general public, and the general response. There are also segments which place a firm spotlight upon Taylor’s private life, and how that further proves that she actively believed in gender equality. SOME GREAT QUOTES: • “It disapproves the notion that women sabotage other women.” [In relation to National Velvet, and the mother/daughter relation between the two characters, and how the mother, being the first woman to swim across the English Channel, encourages the young Velvet to enter an important horse riding contest] • “ “Leslie, you’re tired,” Bick says, to silence her. And she is tired: of his patronizing, his misogyny, his contempt.” [Referring to Giant, and how it showed a ‘stronger’ woman not being traditionally masculine, but emotionally, ‘right brained’ strong] • “Giant exploded gender stereotypes before this was fashionable” [Again, this quote talks about Giant (I TOLD YOU IT WAS PROMINENT WITHIN THIS BOOK!), and how it was well-advanced beyond the time period it was filmed in, and therefore received much criticism, especially because the original text was satire from the authors experience living in Texas. But Giant gave exactly zero shits] As a side note, as I am a more visual learner than anything else, the photographs within the centre of Elizabeth Taylor and things relating to her productions (like an advertisement) or the production themselves (behind the scenes and promo pictures were both used by the author) and I found them to be revealing and interesting thing to constantly check on as I made my way through the biography. ‘The Accidental Feminist’ was overall informative, and enlightening, if not a tad bias, and it would be recommended it for feminists, fans of Taylor, or just someone interested in media texts (and actors/actresses) and their individual impacts on second wave feminism and society within the 50’s and 60’s. If you checked off any of the above: READ THIS BOOK.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maranda

    This is an awesome book! A great study of feminism through the scope of classic films.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    NOTE: I listened to this one on audio, so some of what I have to say about it relates to the audio book. This one took me forever to get through because I was listening to it on audio book. I hate to say it, but the narrator was terrible (at least for this book) or the editing was terrible or something. It took me forever just to get through it--and I LOVE anything to do with Taylor. But the narrator absolutely drove me nuts because she (or the editor) had no concept of how to read longer sentenc NOTE: I listened to this one on audio, so some of what I have to say about it relates to the audio book. This one took me forever to get through because I was listening to it on audio book. I hate to say it, but the narrator was terrible (at least for this book) or the editing was terrible or something. It took me forever just to get through it--and I LOVE anything to do with Taylor. But the narrator absolutely drove me nuts because she (or the editor) had no concept of how to read longer sentences with more complex punctuation. Also, the narrator was so monotone. Anyway, that is the audio book. Here is a little about the content. The book basically follows Taylor's career from National Velvet through her later years, devoting entire chapters to particular movies. Sometimes the link between Taylor and feminism seemed a bit limited, and I think more could have been said about each one of these films. In my opinion, the chapter about "The Sandpiper" and some of the information in the "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" chapters were the strongest. I know that overall "The Sandpiper" is a cheesy movie, but in terms of lines that "are before their time," it is amazing. I am always stunned when I hear some of the things that come out of Taylor's character's mouth. Laura Reynolds, the single mother Taylor portrays in the movie, says so many things that could have been confronted in a deeper way in Lord's book. But, for a preview of what you could get from the movie, I think Lord's chapter on it is a good place to start. In any case, the book was a decent introduction into Taylor's life/work.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    In M.G. Lord's new book, "The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty to Notice," we explore, from a different perspective, the life of Elizabeth Taylor. Beneath the beauty and sexy sultriness is another kind of woman. A woman whose roles in her movies mirrored aspects seldom shown in beautiful women: independence, toughness, and the willingness to take on unpopular causes. From her first big role in National Velvet to Who's Afra In M.G. Lord's new book, "The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty to Notice," we explore, from a different perspective, the life of Elizabeth Taylor. Beneath the beauty and sexy sultriness is another kind of woman. A woman whose roles in her movies mirrored aspects seldom shown in beautiful women: independence, toughness, and the willingness to take on unpopular causes. From her first big role in National Velvet to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and through all the roles in between, we can see the iconic Taylor inhabiting those parts that take on social injustice, as well as roles that showcase independence, rebellion, and, yes, feminism. While Taylor would not have described herself as a feminist, according to those who knew her, she was definitely unafraid, independent, and a champion of unpopular social causes. All the qualities that could define a feminist. From the first chapter to the very end, the author deconstructs the movies that made up Taylor's career, and illustrates for the reader how each role could be construed as a "feminist" one. Probably the most "conscious" gift the actress left behind, as part of her legacy, was her fight to fund research and treatment for HIV/AIDS. Like no other role in her life or in her movies, this role in real life was one that showed her true spirit. Four stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Weaver

    I have been a lifelong fan of Elizabeth Taylor’s and have seen each of the movies that Ms. Lord cites, many more than once. I found that my enjoyment of this book was all that much greater because of it. I applaud and appreciate casting Elizabeth Taylor as a feminist for many of the reasons mentioned and because of a more personal memory. I have two sisters, six and eight years older than I, who had their formative years in the Nineteen Fifties, and I can never forget the reaction that they had I have been a lifelong fan of Elizabeth Taylor’s and have seen each of the movies that Ms. Lord cites, many more than once. I found that my enjoyment of this book was all that much greater because of it. I applaud and appreciate casting Elizabeth Taylor as a feminist for many of the reasons mentioned and because of a more personal memory. I have two sisters, six and eight years older than I, who had their formative years in the Nineteen Fifties, and I can never forget the reaction that they had to National Velvet, which in a way was also my own. I identified with my sisters’ great devotion to the movie and I identified with the idea of any human fighting against restrictions. I was also struck by the discussion of the image of Elizabeth Taylor climbing into the wrecked car to save the life of Montgomery Clift. That pretty much says it for me. It is sort of beyond even feminism and is something that is so essentially human. I also think that her lifelong devotion to men who were gay is somehow feminist, although I am not sure why. This book makes an important point and makes it well. If you ever watched just one of these films, "National Velvet" or "Giant," you came away from it with exactly the perspective the author expounds. There was nothing any man could do that Liz could not also do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wit

    There were some decent interpretations of some of Elizabeth Taylor's roles. A lot of these interpretations seem pretty basic, though, and there weren't a lot of connections being made as to how Taylor's roles changed the cultural perceptions of feminism. I think it's ironic when Lord is bringing up Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy they make it seem like her parents simply did so out of punishment for a rebellious daughter when that ignores a huge factor in the case AND a big part of new wave feminism. There were some decent interpretations of some of Elizabeth Taylor's roles. A lot of these interpretations seem pretty basic, though, and there weren't a lot of connections being made as to how Taylor's roles changed the cultural perceptions of feminism. I think it's ironic when Lord is bringing up Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy they make it seem like her parents simply did so out of punishment for a rebellious daughter when that ignores a huge factor in the case AND a big part of new wave feminism. While lobotomies were used on rebellious women, many of those women, as in Rosemary's case, were already disabled. It does a disservice to the intersectionality aspect in feminism if you ignore what happens to the disabled community. Instead of talking about how Rosemary would "sneak out" as if she was a typical teenager Lord should have mentioned that Rosemary had the mental capacity of a child and on more than one occassion became lost and disoriented after wandering away from her schools and lobotomy was lauded as a kind of a cure all. Lord also makes it sound like Kennedy Sr and Mrs. Kennedy had her lobotomized because they could, ignoring that Mrs. Kennedy was against the idea after one of her other daughters spoke to someone familiar with the procedure and Kennedy Sr went behind her back.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Elizabeth Taylor had an amazing life and career. She's one of those fascinating cultural icons who stands apart from mere mortals, growing up in the public eye, her personal life as dramatic as any film she starred in. It was inevitable that her influence, her "brand," would affect the public consciousness. M.G. Lord takes a look at the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor through the lens of feminism, pointing out the blatantly obvious messages in some films and the slightest nuances in others. I Elizabeth Taylor had an amazing life and career. She's one of those fascinating cultural icons who stands apart from mere mortals, growing up in the public eye, her personal life as dramatic as any film she starred in. It was inevitable that her influence, her "brand," would affect the public consciousness. M.G. Lord takes a look at the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor through the lens of feminism, pointing out the blatantly obvious messages in some films and the slightest nuances in others. I confess I was expecting something more though. Many of the author's theories are pure speculations, often without objective evidence to support them. They often come with the caveat that they "may have been intentional." In that sense, Elizabeth Taylor's feminism is largely a matter of interpretation. However, there are some fascinating stories to be found in The Accidental Feminist, anecdotes and tidbits that make you look at Taylor in a new way. In that sense, the book is an entertaining and informative read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Destanye B.

    This book was surprisingly very good. Not only did it shed light on Elizabeth Taylor and the roles she portrayed in some of her best movies, but it also shed light on her philanthropy and the rules of the studios during that time period. I think the most interesting thing about the book was the fact that religious organizations had final say on scripts for the movie. It seems as though we got away from church in state we moved it to church and movies. The moral code was very high during this tim This book was surprisingly very good. Not only did it shed light on Elizabeth Taylor and the roles she portrayed in some of her best movies, but it also shed light on her philanthropy and the rules of the studios during that time period. I think the most interesting thing about the book was the fact that religious organizations had final say on scripts for the movie. It seems as though we got away from church in state we moved it to church and movies. The moral code was very high during this time and seductive phrases and talking was not allowed. Though one of her moves was specifically about abortion she could never talk about an abortion or even having one out of wedlock. Also the fact that women couldn't express themselves naturally or sexually or emotionally anything that didn't fit this cookie cutter 50's submissive wife lifestyle then she was severely punished in one way or another. It was all in all a very interesting read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shane James Bordas

    A highly readable tract by M.G. Lord highlighting the feminist streak running through a number of Liz's best known roles. It's not hard to see the feminist bent in films like 'Giant', 'The Sandpiper' and 'BUtterfield 8' (despite its flaws, a highly significant film not only for Lord but Camille Paglia as well) so a good argument is built up. A lot is made of Taylor's power as a performer to bypass simple analytical thinking and appeal to the nervous systems of her audience. My main gripe is that A highly readable tract by M.G. Lord highlighting the feminist streak running through a number of Liz's best known roles. It's not hard to see the feminist bent in films like 'Giant', 'The Sandpiper' and 'BUtterfield 8' (despite its flaws, a highly significant film not only for Lord but Camille Paglia as well) so a good argument is built up. A lot is made of Taylor's power as a performer to bypass simple analytical thinking and appeal to the nervous systems of her audience. My main gripe is that Lord doesn't focus much on 'The Driver's Seat' (a very bizarre and intriguing film Taylor made in 1974, based on an equally compelling novella by Muriel Spark) and gives Joseph Losey's fascinating 'Secret Ceremony' such short shrift. Lord also has a tendency to veer off topic at times, leaving some sections a bit underwritten, but the book is always engaging and worth a look.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    I was surprised how quickly I was able to march through this, though I knew the book was short. There are no numbered references in the text to slow me down (I obsessively flick back to read them as sometimes there are interesting points made, but it gets boring if it is just the standard citations), and it's written in a very engaging and easy to understand way. A decent reference book for a film student, as the chapters are headed either by a particular film or few years span, in chronological I was surprised how quickly I was able to march through this, though I knew the book was short. There are no numbered references in the text to slow me down (I obsessively flick back to read them as sometimes there are interesting points made, but it gets boring if it is just the standard citations), and it's written in a very engaging and easy to understand way. A decent reference book for a film student, as the chapters are headed either by a particular film or few years span, in chronological order. I did feel that maybe I didn't get as much out of the book as Taylor fans would, as the only film I had seen is Cleopatra and Lord isn't really a fan of it. I suppose one could judge the analysis shallow, since it is very light and not always very detailed but it's a good introduction to the ideas for a casual reader.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Caveat: aside from a Taming of the Shrew viewing in AP English (which I barely recall), I haven't seen any of Taylor's films. I am a Millennial, so Elizabeth Taylor is the crazy lady who was pals with Michael Jackson. She had many, many marriages, sold perfume, and was Cleopatra. Oh, but she was so much more. If there is an honest, legitimate biography of Taylor, I would like to read it. The Accidental Feminist is fun, though I'm not quite sure I buy the premise. Lord writes, "I'm not projecting Caveat: aside from a Taming of the Shrew viewing in AP English (which I barely recall), I haven't seen any of Taylor's films. I am a Millennial, so Elizabeth Taylor is the crazy lady who was pals with Michael Jackson. She had many, many marriages, sold perfume, and was Cleopatra. Oh, but she was so much more. If there is an honest, legitimate biography of Taylor, I would like to read it. The Accidental Feminist is fun, though I'm not quite sure I buy the premise. Lord writes, "I'm not projecting feminism onto Austin Pendleton's version of The Little Foxes." It feels like she is projecting feminism onto most of the other roles/movies she covers. Nevertheless, I'm adding Giant, and possibly BUtterfield 8 (the first half) and Suddenly, Last Summer to my to-watch list.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kassy Nicholson

    This book was interesting, gave me a greater respect for Elizabeth Taylor, and made me want to watch a bunch of her movies (in fact, I just checked out four of them from the library). The author had obviously done her homework on feminist theory and Taylor's life, although there were one or two moments where I wondered what the source of her information was. The writing was a bit odd in places, such as the entire chapter that was written in the second person (Imagine you are Elizabeth Taylor. You This book was interesting, gave me a greater respect for Elizabeth Taylor, and made me want to watch a bunch of her movies (in fact, I just checked out four of them from the library). The author had obviously done her homework on feminist theory and Taylor's life, although there were one or two moments where I wondered what the source of her information was. The writing was a bit odd in places, such as the entire chapter that was written in the second person (Imagine you are Elizabeth Taylor. You and Richard Burton do this, and so on.) and the author's annoying habit of referring to the couple as The Burtons (she never changed her name, amirite?). But over all, an interesting look at a woman mostly remembered for her looks and her marriages.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura McChristian

    Recently my husband shared an article on Facebook about "menimism," and then this book came up in my Recommendations list. When I noticed it was only .01 on Amazon and I ordered it right away. As many books as I've read about Elizabeth Taylor, my favorite celebrity, this one took an interesting look at her films and their relationship to feminism. It referenced a lot of the other books and has some really cool insight, different from the usual biographies. She's still a fascinating person, not ju Recently my husband shared an article on Facebook about "menimism," and then this book came up in my Recommendations list. When I noticed it was only .01 on Amazon and I ordered it right away. As many books as I've read about Elizabeth Taylor, my favorite celebrity, this one took an interesting look at her films and their relationship to feminism. It referenced a lot of the other books and has some really cool insight, different from the usual biographies. She's still a fascinating person, not just because of her notoriety as an actress but as a pioneer in AIDS awareness and research, and I'm sure we'll continue to see more about her. The legend lives on!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erin Tuzuner

    While some claim Lord's premise is weak, there is much more to Elizabeth Taylor than meets the violet eye. There are some great lines in this book about a woman who could have led a very different life, one that some would say is more appropriate for a beautiful woman of means. Elizabeth Taylor was and continues to be, a woman unafraid to stand up for the rights of others and defend herself very capably. While some claim Lord's premise is weak, there is much more to Elizabeth Taylor than meets the violet eye. There are some great lines in this book about a woman who could have led a very different life, one that some would say is more appropriate for a beautiful woman of means. Elizabeth Taylor was and continues to be, a woman unafraid to stand up for the rights of others and defend herself very capably.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josefine

    This is quite insightful, both about feminism in general, as well as Elizabeth Taylor as a person and her movie characters. It was a pleasant read that made me regret I haven't seen some of the mentioned films yet. However, it was almost a bit too pleasant to read. Obviously it's meant as non-fiction and not a proper scientific text, but I would have appreciated some more informations or citations of feminist texsts and more elaboration on the films/characters. This is quite insightful, both about feminism in general, as well as Elizabeth Taylor as a person and her movie characters. It was a pleasant read that made me regret I haven't seen some of the mentioned films yet. However, it was almost a bit too pleasant to read. Obviously it's meant as non-fiction and not a proper scientific text, but I would have appreciated some more informations or citations of feminist texsts and more elaboration on the films/characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bessie James

    Elizabeth Taylor as a feminist seems like a stretch. It's almost as if someone told you that Mike Tyson likes to wear tutus around the house. When I saw this book, I said, "This I gotta see!" I was quite surprised by the end of the book that the author had convinced me of the premise. There was quite a lot of detail about her early movies (none of which I've seen) but I will probably seek some of them out now. Elizabeth Taylor as a feminist seems like a stretch. It's almost as if someone told you that Mike Tyson likes to wear tutus around the house. When I saw this book, I said, "This I gotta see!" I was quite surprised by the end of the book that the author had convinced me of the premise. There was quite a lot of detail about her early movies (none of which I've seen) but I will probably seek some of them out now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christin

    Like many readers reported, it read as a middle-school dissection about the works of Elizabeth Taylor in the vein of feminism. With that said, the only reason why I soldiered on with this read was due to the fact I'm a huge, huge fan of Elizabeth but it could have been a far more engaging piece of work. This honestly felt like the work of a burnt out author out to make a profit off of this legend and in all, it was a disappointment. Like many readers reported, it read as a middle-school dissection about the works of Elizabeth Taylor in the vein of feminism. With that said, the only reason why I soldiered on with this read was due to the fact I'm a huge, huge fan of Elizabeth but it could have been a far more engaging piece of work. This honestly felt like the work of a burnt out author out to make a profit off of this legend and in all, it was a disappointment.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Lang

    This is TRUE Elizabeth Taylor in every sense. She did in fact raise our consciousness by her courage not to live her life by the conventional standards of the time. The sensuality she exuded both on the screen and off, is legendary. She was a woman way ahead of her time and this book illustrates her lust for life, her passion for humanity and her unstoppable determination to be with the man of her choice.

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